Think Beyond 4 Walls: Microsoft Launches #ExploreTeachBuild #Canada150

This past Monday I was invited to the Toronto Zoo to spend the afternoon with Microsoft Canada as they launched the new challenge program Explore. Teach. Build. Through this challenge students across Canada can engage and connect in real-time with a guide from National heritage sites through Skype Virtual Field Trips and use Minecraft Education Edition to re-create Canada’s historical sites. They can also submit their creations to a national collection and they can win prizes. Students can work independently or in teams using online creative Minecraft servers to build their vision! Students will be able to access resources and sites they’d never see otherwise.

At the event we were able to witness first hand, the very first Skype Virtual Field Trip with a class all the way in Port Alberni, BC over 4,000 kms away with a staff member from the Toronto Zoo Great Lakes Conservation program who was in the fish lab at the zoo – where she was able to connect, educate and engage with the students to learn about the endangered Atlantic Salmon that are (re)introduced into Lake Ontario each year.


Skype Virtual Field Trips will take students on an adventure without leaving the classroom. Skype connects classrooms with adventurers, advocates, leaders and even real life scenarios. Through the power of Skype, students will embark on a digital journey to visit Canada’s historical sites, interacting with heritage sites in real-time.


Educators will integrate the celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation into their curriculum. Using dynamic lesson plan templates designed by an educator community, this unique teaching experience enables students to learn and experiences our great nation’s historical landmarks first hand.


Minecraft: Education Edition will invite teachers and students to re-create their favourite heritage sites. As an educator, you can encourage problem solving and team collaboration skills through a fun challenge designed to help them build and learn with each other online, while using server providers for Minecraft such as ggservers to allow students to connect to each other. Your classrooms submissions will also be featured in Microsoft’s Canada 150 National Sway.

As part of this program your teachers have the opportunity to request Teacher Ambassadors to visit their classrooms, request to use Windows 10 devices or can take students to the Microsoft Store. Make your request or see more details at: microsoft.ca/ExploreTeachBuild.


While at the Toronto Zoo on Monday for this launch we were able to learn with the students of Port alberni, B.C. about the 6 million salmon that have been (re)introduced into Lake Ontario. Did you know: There was no more Salmon in Lake Ontario because we, the humans, prevent them from coming up stream (dams, etc) the Toronto zoo works to help get them released back into the wild. Years from now: there will be no more need for these (re)releases as the repopulation will be done on their own, thanks to the Toronto Zoo and their efforts.

The students were able to ask questions, and they all seemed very eager to do so. These types of collaborations are exciting and engaging for students, I even brought along 3 of my young boys who were able to witness as well, and were thrilled with all the information they walked away with. Technology has come a long way, and to use it for such an event as a field trip to another city, and another province is an adventurous and engaging way for students to connect with experts, and real-time discussions/scenarios without leaving their classroom.

Participate in Explore. Teach. Build Skype virtual field trip and encourage your class to select their favourite Canadian heritage site or moment in Canadian history.

Register for a free trial of Minecraft Education Edition, download the Explore.Teach.Build lesson plan and start building! For more resources visit: education.minecraft.net

My boys were able to meet a few new friends at the event, and were very excited to do so! Big thanks to the Toronto Zoo for hosting, and Microsoft for such an amazing challenge! We were thrilled to learn about and witness!

Start Celebrating Canada’s 150th Birthday –

Visit Microsoft.ca/ExploreTeachBuild

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. However all opinions are mine and 100% true.

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